I did a diet detox last week. It was awful and great at the same time. I wonder if that is what everyone says?
I had a crazy August. I was home something like three nights out of 18 days. I missed my bed. And I ate out just about every meal for almost three weeks. Even the days I was home, there was hardly any food at my house, and I didn’t want to go to the store and then leave home again for a few days. When I was eating out, it wasn’t healthy stuff. It was greasy and caloric and wonderful. And there was lots of boozing.
So, by the time last week rolled around, I knew I had to do something, I felt icky.
While I was travelling, I ran across a story in Prevention Magazine about a diet detox. It actually was kinda funny because it was called “Could your relationship survive a diet detox?” I guess the couple was pretty much at each others’ throats. No sugar, alcohol, caffeine, refined grains or dairy. Wow. It was just the kind of challenge that I like to do.
Of course, giving up sugar, caffeine and alcohol for a detox is a no brainer. Sugar is seriously toxic. And in my own personal observation, it messes with your brain. Last year, when I read Salt, Sugar Fat, It was an eye opener. It’s okay to treat yourself occasionally, but if you want to do a detox, sugar is something you definitely have to get rid of to get your body back on the right track. Caffeine has both positive and negative effects, but too much is definitely not a good thing. Just like with alcohol, a very small amount can affect your sleep. And, alcohol is basically empty calories. I’ve tried to give up dairy before for short periods of time. It makes your body produce mucus, and I was trying to get some allergy relief when I gave it up before. Dairy and grains are also difficult for our bodies to digest.
So, off I went last week. I had my dinner menus planned. Fish or chicken each night and lots of vegetables. Salads for lunch. Non-dairy smoothies for breakfast. I was ready. On Tuesday morning, I felt fine until about 10 a.m. Then, the lack of caffeine kicked in, and it only got worse. I had to take a 15 minute power nap at lunch just to get through the day. And when I came home from work, I napped again. I. Couldn’t. Function. I wasn’t really cranky, and I only had a very mild headache (nothing like the migraine I expected), but I was so sleepy, I could have laid down and slept at any point after mid-morning. Of course, I had just come off a weekend trip to Atlanta, so I wondered how much was the caffeine withdrawal, and how much was just the weekend finally catching up to me. The migraine finally did set in about 8:30 p.m., and I just went to bed.
Wednesday was just like Tuesday, except I had to travel for work. I could have gone back to sleep at any point after mid-morning. And I fell asleep again (accidentally) in the car while I was carpooling with others. How embarrassing. Another nap when I got home from work. It was starting to become clear how I get through my days. But on Wednesday, no headache, so that was an improvement.
Overall, I mostly felt like crap for the first two days. But it was because I was just so sleepy. It wasn’t until Friday morning, when I woke up, that I actually felt amazing. The couple in the Prevention magazine story did their cleanse for four weeks, and I almost wished I would have gone a little longer since I only started to feel the positive effects of the detox on the last day. I woke up without any sniffles and stuffiness, and everyone else I know was miserable on Friday. So, I think it was the no dairy for four days that really helped. Before, when I have cut out dairy, I haven’t noticed much difference. But this time I really did.
Not having any alcohol was also helping my sleep, too. The older I get, the more I get what I call the “Bud Light Big Eye” where you are wide awake three hours after you go to bed after you have only a little bit, like two glasses of wine. It’s the worst. Well. Maybe not as bad as actually being hung over, but at least when you drink that much, you sleep all night long.
I will say, by the afternoon on Friday, I was fantasizing about how delicious that coffee would be first thing Saturday morning.
It was just as amazing as I imagined.
Now that I’m done, what’s the takeaway? Detoxing isn’t for everyone. I asked myself a few times why I was doing this. Mostly, I just wanted to prove to myself that I could, I think. It gets easier the longer you go. And it’s a good way to cut back on everything that makes you feel a little off when you go back to normal. I still haven’t had any sweets. I am eating cheese like a fool and taking allergy pills, though.